Lucas Sims role in 2020, as long as he’s still with the Cincinnati Reds, is going to be in the bullpen according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. This isn’t Earth shattering news by any stretch of the imagination, of course. The Reds have a rotation that’s already full, with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, and Wade Miley. And there’s also Tyler Mahle in the background as the 6th option if needed.
Sims was mostly a starter in the minor leagues, but when he was with Cincinnati in the Major Leagues last season, he pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen. He would made four starts, but made another 20 relief appearances during the season. Sims, who will turn 26 in May, is out of options and can’t be sent to the minor leagues unless he passes through waivers first.
During the 2019 season he struck out 57 batters in 43.0 innings pitched – a strong rate, but he also walked 19 batters in that stretch. Without room in the rotation, he’s going to be battling for one of the few spots in the bullpen. There’s going to be plenty of options for Cincinnati to look at there, too. Sims won’t be the only player out of options fighting for a spot in the bullpen. While guys like Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson are out of options, they would appear to have spots locked up short of something unforeseen taking place. But left-hander Cody Reed and right-hander Sal Romano are out of options, and unlike the other two guys, may not have spots locked in.
The Robot Umpires are coming. Sort of.
We’ve seen a push for an electronic strikezone for years now. And last year we actually saw Major League Baseball begin to take the steps towards making it happen. The first step was when they made an agreement with the independent Atlantic League to use Trackman to call balls and strikes during their season. Then they used it in some games, also via Trackman, in the Arizona Fall League games. When Major League Baseball and the umpires union came to a new collective bargaining agreement, a part of that was the agreement that they would work together on how to implement an electronic strikezone moving forward.
Early in the week Rob Manfred announced that this spring would see some more electronic strikezone implementation. Just a few hours later the umpires union made sure to point out that this meant that the system would be running in the background and not be used to call balls and strikes during games.
Then it was reported by Jacob Bogage of The Washington Post that the Florida State League would be getting the electronic strikezone in 2020. The Reds Advanced-A affiliate, the Daytona Tortugas, play in the league. Their home stadium, however, will be one of several in the league that will not have the electronic strikezone. A majority of the league will – all of the ballparks in the league that also double as the home stadium for spring training will have the new system installed.
Hunter Greene gives back to baseball, Cincinnati
2017 1st round draft pick Hunter Greene spent time last week to host a baseball camp in Cincinnati. But it was more than just a baseball camp, too. Prior to the baseball portion of the experience for the kids, Greene took them to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center the night before. Brendan Hader of MLB.com covered the event and gives some more insight into how things went. Go check it out.
Former Big Leaguer Phil Hughes and Baseball Cards
While I’m sure there are some of you out there who didn’t collect baseball cards at some point in your lives, I’m going to make a safe assumption that a large majority of you did at some point. Former Major League pitcher Phil Hughes is a big collector. In fact, more than a decade ago, when Hughes was one of the top prospects in baseball but had not yet reached the Major Leagues, I made a trade with him through the mail via a baseball card trading message board. He even offered up some pitching insights. Small, weird world, huh?
Well, these days Hughes is retired from baseball after his arm simply wouldn’t recover enough from injuries. Sadly it’s a tale as old as time. But today he’s now hanging out on YouTube opening up packs of baseball cards (and other types of trading cards). His channel, Phil’s Pulls, has nearly 19,000 subscribers as I type this. The channel has only existed for four months, but he’s already made 61 videos. Andy McCullough wrote about Hughes, and his journey from Major League pitcher to Youtuber at The Athletic early in the week, which is where I found out about this. Just seemed like a cool thing that may interest a few of you.